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In the construction industry, a “cricket” refers to a small, peaked structure or sloped diversion installed on the roof surface behind a chimney or another roof penetration. Also known as a saddle or saddleback, crickets are typically constructed from wood framing, metal flashing, or built-up roofing materials and serve several essential functions in roof design and water management.

Functions of a Cricket:

1. Water Diversion: One of the primary purposes of a cricket is to redirect water away from the base of a chimney, vent pipe, or other roof projection. By creating a sloped surface behind the obstruction, crickets prevent the accumulation of standing water and facilitate proper drainage, reducing the risk of leaks, water damage, and deterioration of roofing materials.

2. Prevention of Debris Accumulation: Crickets help prevent the accumulation of leaves, twigs, snow, and other debris behind chimneys or roof protrusions. The sloped design encourages debris to slide off the roof surface, minimizing blockages and potential sources of water infiltration into the building envelope.

3. Structural Support: In addition to diverting water and debris, crickets provide structural support and reinforcement for vulnerable areas of the roof. By framing a cricket with sturdy materials and anchoring it securely to the roof deck, contractors ensure that the roof can withstand the weight of snow, wind, and other loads without compromising its integrity.

4. Enhanced Roof Longevity: Properly installed crickets help prolong the service life of roofing materials by reducing exposure to moisture, mold, and rot. By channeling water away from critical junctions and vulnerable components of the roof system, crickets contribute to the overall durability and performance of the roof assembly, minimizing the need for costly repairs or premature replacements.

Construction and Installation:

Crickets are typically constructed on-site by skilled roofers or carpenters using a combination of wood framing, sheathing, and roofing materials. The size and shape of the cricket depend on factors such as the size of the obstruction, roof slope, and local climate conditions. Generally, crickets feature a sloped or peaked design that directs water towards adjacent roof sections or drainage points, such as gutters or scuppers.

Applications of Crickets:

Crickets are commonly installed behind various roof projections, including:
– Chimneys
– Vent pipes
– Skylights
– Dormers
– HVAC units
– Antennas or satellite dishes

In summary, crickets play a crucial role in roof design and water management by diverting water, preventing debris accumulation, providing structural support, and enhancing the longevity of roofing systems. By incorporating crickets into roof construction projects, contractors can effectively mitigate water-related issues and ensure the long-term performance and reliability of the roof assembly.

After experiencing water leaks around the chimney, the homeowner decided to have a cricket installed to redirect water away from the vulnerable area and protect the roof from further damage.

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